Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Culture

Actor and King’s Student Nael Ameen Talks to Roar About Their Role in the New Movie ‘How to Date Billy Walsh’

Headshot of Nael Ameen
Headshot of Nael Ameen

Staff Writer Charlotte Galea speaks with King’s Student Nael Ameen about his role in ‘How to Date Billy Walsh’ and asks: “Why can’t things just be silly?”

Cliché. Sappy. Cheesy. And so fun!

All is fair in love and war. Well, for everyone but Archie Arnold (‘Heartstopper’s Sebastian Croft) in ‘How To Date Billy Walsh‘. Helplessly in love with his best friend, Amelia Brown (Charithra Chandran of ‘Bridgerton’ fame), the movie follows his attempts to pluck up the courage to finally tell her how he feels, while she fawns over the new kid on the block, Billy Walsh (‘Cobra Kai’‘s Tanner Buchanan). With a host of characters that feel like they stepped out of all your favourite rom-coms – the mean girl Amber (Daisy Jelley), the helpful father Roger (‘The Big Bang Theory‘’s Kunal Nayyar), the annoyed headmaster played by the hilarious Guz Khan, and even a quick performance by Maisie Peters (playing herself) at the June Ball, this hour-and-a-half romp arrived on screens on 5 April 2024 and got me hooked. Directed by Alex Pillai, it will have you kicking your feet and wondering where your critical thinking skills left you.

The all-star cast includes King’s College London’s (KCL) very own Nael Ameen as Yousif, a flamboyant and fun peer of Amelia and Archie. A first year studying BA Culture, Media and Creative Industries, Nael spoke to me about how he found the experience and why this new rom-com is worth the watch.

Aside from his experience in modelling and photography, Nael spent two years on the West End playing Eric and Nigel in ‘Matilda’. ‘How to Date Billy Walsh’ was his first time on a film set and he could not have been more delighted about it. “It was so much fun!” he says. “I really got a proper insight into how things are made”.

The shoot lasted six weeks and Nael was there for three of them. Having originally thought they would be based in Manchester, he found himself in a small town in York where, as he describes it, “there was literally one pub that would close at 8pm” and “one Asian takeaway and genuinely that was it”. However, Nael considers this to have been a good thing in the end, saying that “we were able to bond a little bit more because of how little there is to do there”.

Outside of the film world, Nael’s style is incredibly important to him and he thinks it shined through in Yousif’s character. He admits: “I was worried because I think on screen, school uniforms can either be really drab or they don’t look like school uniforms”. However, having the costume designer Eleanor Baker on the project relieved him of such nerves. She eagerly discussed what the cast’s own ideas for the outfits were, which made Nael very satisfied with the end result. And indeed, it is easy to see how Baker’s talent allows the characters’ personalities to stand out through their distinctive and unique fashion choices.

Watching the movie, you can’t help but notice all of the classic rom-com tropes: a ‘Mean Girls’-esque trio that makes fun of the ‘nerdy’ Amelia and Archie, the jocks that seem to terrorise the school, and even a ‘Legally Blonde’ bend-and-snap moment that had me cackling. Nael loves how “they played with the conventions of teen rom-coms from the 2000s”, creating what resulted in a “classic rom-com” encompassing all your most beloved cliché elements. Not to mention the romance, which sparked a girlish joy in me that I hadn’t experienced since I last watched ’27 Dresses’. With Chandran and Croft’s chemistry as brilliant as it was, even someone who usually dislikes the genre will be screaming at Archie to just tell her how he feels!

While the film has garnered a lot of positive reviews, some people have been calling it frivolous, silly and unserious. What they’re essentially saying is: this is no ‘Oppenheimer‘. Nael argues against. He says, “it is a film of true light-hearted fun. That is something I feel is missing. I think that loads of films are too heavy and everything is too serious, but this one is just something where you can completely forget about the outside world for a minute and just laugh a bit”.

With exams around the corner and coursework piling up on our desks, this is the most stressful time of year for us students. In a way, I think we all need something fun and silly to watch to take our minds off it. I have to agree with Nael when he states: “it just feels like your perfect rom-com where nothing makes sense in the best way… it’s just silly and I like that”. Give me a ridiculous rom-com any day!

When I asked Nael about his plans, he admitted he was unsure of the future – but was okay with it. He’s incredibly excited due to landing a contract with a new acting agency off the back of ‘How to Date Billy Walsh’. “I’m hoping to do a lot more”, he tells me, “but I just don’t know what direction that would be and I’m happy to let that unfold”.

It certainly seems he’s off to a brilliant start! Perhaps future KCL students will be walking past pictures of the famous actor Nael Ameen dispayed on the campus walls.

‘How to Date Billy Walsh’ is available on Amazon Prime, and I cannot recommend it enough. Yes, the film is cheesy – but also thoroughly charming. It will take you back to your teenage times while simultaneously reminding you how glad you are to be over with the horrors of schooling. Whether you sympathise with Archie who channels all the pain we have felt in fancying a friend, wish to (vicariously) go through an Amelia-like makeover, or simply experience Guz Khan getting really annoyed with a bunch of school children, this is the movie for you. Watch it not only to spot a fellow King’s student, but for a classic, cheesy, brilliant rom-com that will have you forgetting all about those deadlines!

Latest

Comment

Staff writer Joel Nugent provides his predictions on the next Taoiseach through his analysis of Irish party dynamics and key political issues. Most observers...

KCLSU & Societies

The annual King’s College London Student Union (KCLSU) Awards are going to be held on Tuesday 28 May 2024. The KCLSU awards are on...

Attendees playing indie games pre-release. Credits: Tanya Kapur Attendees playing indie games pre-release. Credits: Tanya Kapur

Culture

Staff Writer Wyatt Au Young covers the recent Game Day X event at Strand Campus and interviews its CEO Tanya Kapur on the game...

Music Festival Stage and Crowd Music Festival Stage and Crowd

Culture

Staff Writer Cruz Glynka overviews London’s music festival offer and recommends six events worth checking out. The weather is warming, and the sun is...

KCLSU & Societies

Roar can exclusively reveal that real terms expenditure by King’s College London (KCL) Sport & Wellbeing was 10% lower over the last five years...

KCLSU & Societies

The annual King’s College London Student Union (KCLSU) Awards are going to be held on Tuesday 28 May 2024. The KCLSU awards are on...

News

Scammers claiming to be members of staff at King’s College London (KCL) have targeted students at the university. On 9 May, King’s sent an...

News

Roar can reveal that King’s College London (KCL) has spent £48,401.27 promoting the use of the ‘King’s Student’ app since its launch in autumn...

KCLSU & Societies

On Thursday 2 May, King’s College London Students’ Union (KCLSU) staff were internally informed that three elected student representatives were being reinstated. “I write...